Experiencing Gratitude

Experiencing Gratitude

“I read your speech ‘To Alma Mater With Gratitude.’ That set me thinking.” Lulu, my parrot said as he fluttered his wings. He had just landed himself on the edge of my laptop.

“My Institute gave me ‘Lifetime Achievement Award.’ It was my acceptance speech.”

“The word gratitude is so apt in that context. Do you understand the difference between gratitude and grateful?” I remembered my teacher. I always failed in answering questions like ‘explain the difference between this and that.’ Experience has taught me that something more difficult hides behind this question.

“Hmm…. Let me think….. Gratitude is a noun while Grateful is an adjective.”

“Oh, Forget grammar, dictionaries tell us that, my friend. Have you ‘discovered’ the meaning?”

“What’s that?”

“What happens to you when you ‘felt’ grateful and what happens when you were ‘filled’ with gratitude?”

“When I felt grateful, I said ‘Thank you.’”

“You got it right. Gratefulness is always expressed toward the other. It is directed at somebody else. It is thankfulness. People who survived the Bomb blasts in Mumbai felt grateful to the Lord. Last minute goal in football, last ball winning stroke of a sixer in cricket also produces the same feeling. You would have seen the winner of Wimbledon kneeling down or looking skyward and thanking the Lord.”

“Sometimes you wonder if you did it. You often conclude that it was done through you. The invisible hand of the almighty, I mean, if you are a believer.”

“And you are grateful to HIM. But gratitude is different. You are taught to be grateful……”

“….And gratitude?”

“You experience gratitude. As you said, you are ‘filled’ with it. It can’t be taught. It emerges from within. Osho says it ‘arises out of you like a fragrance.’ So there you are – alone and flowering. Like the Parijat tree. You move to a higher plane. You look back to find that waves in your life have taken you toward the shore and sometimes taken you away. Yet those experiences leave you enriched. More awakened.”

“Hmmmm….. You are getting philosophical. It will take me sometime to understand Osho’s interpretation fully. Osho’s words sound poetic. I can say that at the event when I was felicitated and given the Lifetime Achievement Award, I was overcome with emotions. I felt humbled. It will take some time for me to label the experience.”  

“Don’t worry about labelling it. Just stay with it. Isn’t that good?”

Vivek S Patwardhan